West Chester Weekly News Roundup

christmas house4
Holiday spirit shining bright on S. Walnut Street.

With so much going on around town. Catch up on what you may have missed.

It’s Friday, December 20. Armed robbery caught on camera, a new homeless hotline, and West Chester says goodbye to two dedicated civil servants. Plus, Everhart Park’s playground plans move ahead. Who’s ready? We’ll keep it light this week.  

The real life Grinch has been spotted. West Chester Police are seeking the community’s help in identifying two males wanted in an armed robbery. The robbery took place on December 16 at a grocery store on the 200 block of W. Chestnut Street. The first suspect is described as a thin black male approximately 6’ tall. The second suspect is male around 5’8”. If you have any information about the robbery please contact the West Chester Police at 610-436-1335.   

everhart park
Members of the Friends of Everhart Park (FoEP) along with students from the University of West Chester and professionals from ESRI mapping have begun mapping the park’s trees in preparation for next year’s playground project.

Let’s get together in the New Year. In the budget that was approved last week Everhart Park was awarded $130,000 to invest in updated equipment for the park’s play areas. The FoEP will be working with playground designer Play by Design, as well as students and members of the community, to develop the final design. To kick off the process, a Design Day presentation of the new playground design is planned for January 22 at Hillsdale elementary school at 6 p.m. The presentation will include recommendations from the students who will be participating in a separate design event the week before. 

Christmas bonus. Holiday cheer came early to Berg Construction, LLC an excavation company in Morgantown, PA, who was awarded an $919,197.50 contract this week for work at John O. Green Park.

The Borough electric. Borough Council continues to finetune its electric vehicle (EV) charging policy. Originally EVs paid for parking but were able to charge (or not) for free. The policy was then modified to charge vehicles for both the spot and for charging. Now the latest adjustment adds a $20 fine for those cars that are occupying the space and not actively charging their vehicles.   

christmas house2
Pretty house on E. Washington Street

Baby, it’s cold outside. Chester County is happy to announce its homeless hotline is now operational. Any families experiencing a housing shortage this winter just need to dial 2-1-1 to be connected to the Homeless Coordinated Entry Call Center. The phone line is monitored by the United Way of Chester County and services are available 24/7. 

Is it summer, yet? We have updates on the West Chester Summer Camp program. After initially proposing a series of changes that were not going to accommodating working parents – I’m sorry, but who works 9 to 3 p.m. – and are you hiring? – the program was sent back to the Parks and Rec Commission (resident-run borough committee) and the Parks and Rec Department (Borough department) to come up with a solution that is better suited to all. 

Here are their proposed changes: 

  • Hours 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an option to extend to 6 p.m. for an additional $200. This would get you late pick up access for the full eight weeks. (That works out to be $2.50 an hour.)
  • All fees need to be paid in advance of the start of camp. When, and what exactly those costs will be still needs to be figured out but this will eliminate non-payments. Last year there was $4312 in unpaid tuition.  
  • The program will be getting a curriculum describes as 50% fun and 50% STEAM.
  • Camp will be outside as much as possible, weather permitting. The exact location of the camp has not been finalized, but it has been suggested the camp rotate between the three current locations (Everhart Park, Hoopes Park and the Melton Center).
  • Camp will be open to kids ages 5 – 12 (must be in the specified age range on the first day of camp.) However, there will no longer be three separate programs. All kids will be in one program and they will all do the same activities. 
  • Field trips will continue but they will be focused on Chester County. 

Still to be worked out:  

  • The final cost of the program. Although, there is a strong commitment to keeping it affordable.  
  • Whether or not the camp will be open to non-borough residents. It sounds like there are advocates on both sides of this issue.
  • How many kids the camp will accept. To keep the costs down they are aligning enrollment to bus capacity. If interest has dropped due to the changes or if they decide not to accept non-borough kids, there will probably be 90 openings. However if there is strong interest in the program, the borough is open to expanding to 140 kids. 

Special thanks to Chantale for keeping us all informed. 

“All systems go for 2021.”

-James Scanlon, Superintedent West Chester Area School District

Hold on, I’m coming. A couple weeks late but ground has broken on Greystone Elementary, the district’s eleventh elementary school. The school is being built to help alleviate strain on current resources. Thanks to strong development in the region, including the new 598 home Greystone Estates which is being built near the school, many of the district elementary schools are at or over capacity. The construction was temporarily held up while the District secured a sewer permit but the school is still expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

Excuse me, can I get through here? Borough Council has approved financing a three-week pilot program of a media filtration program. The program will test the use of media filtration or a “filter that uses a bed of sand, peat, or other material to filter water for drinking… irrigation or stormwater management” (Thank you, Wikipedia) to lower levels of several state regulated implements. According to a report submitted by the Borough’s engineers, the wastewater treatment facility has struggled to meet revised state-mandated levels for total suspend solids (TSS), aluminum and phosphorus. The borough has found some success increasing implements and is hoping this program which will cost the Borough $10,000 will help avoid having to add a costly filtration system.

Can I get a substitute? The Public Works Department is exploring alternatives to rock salt for de-icing roads. Despite being widely used, sodium chloride, or rock salt, can be damaging to concrete and metal. It also can pollute streams, rivers and lakes. 

christmas house3
There has been a series of package thefts reported around the Borough.

The warnings. Keep an eye on those packages. A West Chester resident reported having two Amazon packages stolen from his porch on the 200 block of E. Chestnut. The thief, caught on security camera, appears to be a grown man. 

Then keep an eye the West Chester PD Facebook page…. the Borough PD has been posting images of unclaimed items recovered from some of the porch thefts – including Smart LED Strip Lights and an Echo Dot.

Classic college bar… with cheap beers and a fun atmosphere.”

-Joy Franklin, PhillyBite Magazine

The accolades. Congrats to Slow Hand which was recently featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The restaurant was singled out for its eclectic menu, fun drinks (Hello Darlin’ – apple brandy, Disaronno, cranberry, and rosemary syrup) and lack of TVs.  

Speaking of cheers, PhillyBite Magazine has taken a stab at the 10 best bars in West Chester. I’m not sure if these are in order or just numbered so we can see they got to 10,  but what do you think, did they capture the West Chester bar scene? I would argue 4 Dogs is not a West Chester bar but maybe I’m in the minority here. 

Pay it forward. Still got that pumpkin? Don’t throw it out. Drop it off at 841 S. New Street instead. Deer love pumpkins and the residents there are looking to keep a large family fed through the winter. 

Know a nonprofit in need of a computer? Borough Council approved a measure this week that would allow retired computers to be donated to local nonprofits. No word yet on how to get added to the recipient list.

West Chester Borough has found itself in possession of a generous donation of tulip bulbs and they are inviting the public to help themselves. Bulbs will be available at the Public Works building at 205 Lacy Street, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

leberger
LeBerger Store. West Chester, PA

Hello.  To LeBerger store. French for “the shepard” LeBerger offers a variety of handbags, clothes and jewelry at a range of prices. Located on 125 N. Church Street, they officially opened on Dec. 14. So stop by and finish that last minute shopping or just ogle their beautiful bags and mentally spend that Christmas cash.

To Two Birds Cafe. The latest breakfast spot to occupy the Downingtown Pike location, that was formerly Mrs. Mikes and then Perch, promises seasonal scratch dishes and parking. Two big wins for West Chester. 

Goodbye. To Scott Bohn. The West Chester Chief of Police has announced he is stepping down in January. Scott has served 34 years on the West Chester police force, 20 of them as Chief of Police. We thank him for his service and wish him best of luck with his new position with the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. 

To Diane LeBold. The current Borough Council president said goodbye to colleagues on council this week as she presided over her last meeting. The two-term councilwoman will be replaced in the second ward by Fugget Middle School teacher and political newcomer Nick Allen beginning in January 2020.  

To Local Yoga Cafe. The yoga studio/cafe has been quietly (and calmly) sunset and has returned as Earthborn Yoga Studio. Same place, same great yoga, no cafe. 

santa hat
Here’s to having some serious fun this holiday!

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We are heading out of town for the holidays. 12 hours in the cars with three babies. Good times. 

If you’re around here are some ways to pass the time.

Mark your calendars: 

  • Here Comes the Sun, Be & Breathe Yoga Studio, Dec. 21
  • WCASD schools closed for the winter break, Dec. 23 – Jan. 1
  • New Year’s Eve Gala, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Dec. 31

That’s it. We are done here. Here is last week’s Roundup if you need it. Plus some great local places to get Christmas tree – pre-cut or cut your own. Also, if you haven’t checked it out yet, The West Chester Press has an awesome local gift guide. I highly suggest you check it out for all those hard-to-shop for individuals on your list.

No Roundup next week – see you in 2020!

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